As we are all gearing up for the start of the holiday season with Thanksgiving next week, we do so knowing 2012 is right around the corner. Here at the Y, that means we’ll see an influx of new members ready to challenge themselves to sustain a healthier lifestyle. As a Wellness Director, it’s inspiring to see so many new faces being active and pushing past their comfort zones.
However, we also see the inevitable decline in attendance during the months of March and April. I believe this is a result of new members either coming without a plan or setting unrealistic goals for themselves. One way those who are trying to take incremental steps to a healthier lifestyle can accomplish this is by developing a set of SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for the following:
Specific – Going into a new program, one should go a little farther than saying “I want to exercise more.” What will you do and how often? An example of this would be “I will walk three days a week for 30 minutes.”
Measurable – At the end of the week or month, you should be able to look at what you’ve done and know if you reached your goal. In the previous example, one can easily oull out their activity tracker and see if they met that goal.
Attainable – In looking at your life, is the goal you’re setting possible? Setting a goal that will conflict your other responsibilities is setting yourself up to fail.
Realistic – This is one most fall prey to. Many of us watch a certain TV show in which participants often lose 15-20 lbs a week. Human nature is to think “if they can do that, so can I.” However, those contestants are in a very controlled environment. For those of us in the real world, 1-2 lbs a week is a realistic weight loss goal. By the same token, if you’re currently inactive, saying you’ll work out 6 six days a week probably isn’t going to happen right away. It’s important to start small and go from there.
Timely – Your goal should have a time frame attached to it. If you’re looking to lose some weight, give yourself a realistic deadline in which to do it.
If you’re someone that plans on getting back in the swing of things after the chaos of the holiday season, think a little about what you want to accomplish and how you plan on doing it. If you’re unable to come up with a clear plan on your own, schedule a wellness appointment once you’ve joined the Y. Our trained staff is here to help you.
Happy Holidays from all of us at the Y and we’ll see you in January!